The Importance of Arguments:
One skill set you will focus on in Writing 101 is how to persuade an audience for your purpose.
Understanding effective strategies of argument can come in handy when you want to persuade your boss
that you deserve a raise or persuade your coworkers that a specific way to do something is better. The
first essay assignment in Writing 101 requires you to practice persuasion by writing an argument using a
narrative — a story — to convince your readers your thesis (the point you are making) is valid, true.
The Importance of Narratives
In Essay 1, you will use a story about an educational experience you had as evidence to support your
argument about that experience. People judge the strength of an argument by the evidence you include
that supports your thesis. Readers need to make sense of an event or events within a context. The context
a story gives us the sense-making perspectives we need. Use your narrative or story to convince your
audience that your point – your thesis — is reasonable given the situation.
Education refers to all of the ways we formally and informally learn. Formal education includes
everything learned in school. Informal education includes everything learned outside of a structured
setting, either from family, friends, coaches, mentors, etc., or that you have taught yourself.
Thinking about what you learned in the past can help you get the most out of new experiences. The more
you know about yourself, the more success you are likely to have.
For this essay, you will write a narrative argument about your education.
We will read and analyze published essays that are similar to this assignment. You will be
able to see how other writers have narrated their own educational experiences.
In your essay, you must develop an arguable claim using a personal narrative (a story).
For your narrative to be successful as an argument, your point must be clear.
What do you want your readers to “get” – to understand — from your story?
Write about a time when you learned something new, either inside or outside of a
school setting. How did you learn? Make an argument about your learning style based
on your experience learning something new.
Your readers are your classmates and instructor. You need to provide enough information in
your narrative for your audience to understand where, when, and, how the experience took place,
and also provide enough detail and analysis for us to care about your experience.
Provide Concrete, Vivid Detail
To write a successful narrative, include plenty of vivid, relevant detail. Your goal should be to
make your readers feel as if they were there with you during the experience. Everything you
include must support your argument.
Everything must count.
Include Figurative Language
One way to make a narrative effective is to include figurative language such as metaphors,
similes, personification, etc.
Here is an example of literal language: “The house had three floors and seven bedrooms.”
Here is an example of figurative language: “The seven-bedroom house loomed over Mulberry
Street like a dark god, casting judgment on its neighbors.”
Use Strong Verbs
Notice the difference in the previous example between the verbs “had” and “loomed.” “Loomed”
is much more specific and descriptive.
Use Dialogue (optional)
Including what people said can help readers better understand your experience and your point.
Make Sure Your Story Makes a Point
Have an answer to the reader’s question “So what?”
What central idea or thesis do you want to convince readers is reasonable, true, and insightful.
Your essay must be more than three pages long. Be sure your essay goes on to page four, typed
in MLA format.Tedlock 3
Your final essay should:
Include a title that gets attention and identified the topic or hints at the thesis
Explain the significance of your story (have a strong thesis)
Tell a story with specific details and clear examples that support your thesis
Go onto the 4th page. Essays that do meet the length requirement lose points, possibly
huge points, in the support category.
Be organized into a logical series of paragraphs
Include in each paragraph a point you are making
Have a minimum of grammar, punctuation and spelling errors.
180-200 = A 160-179 = B 140-159 = C 120-139 = D Below 120 = F
Refer to the grading rubric for more information!
You can do this!
Be the rose!